Goosey, goosey – gone?

More wonderful news from DCMS which reports, in the government’s first full analysis of its kind of the economic data, that in 2014 our creative industries grew by 8.9% - almost twice the rate of the UK economy - to be worth now £84.bn in gross value added (GVA) instead of the £76.9bn of the year before.

The findings in the new Creative Industries Economic Estimates extrapolate to show that the creative industries generate £9.5m an hour and are worth 5.2% of the entire UK economy. 

And the creative economy, which is the creative industries added to the creative jobs in other industries (like designers working in manufacturing or advertising professionals working in finance), is worth a stonking £133.3bn, or 8.24% of the UK economy.

Actually, there’s nothing new in the rise and rise of culture’s economic value to us, just that we haven’t made much of it.  Since 1997 the creative industries’ GVA has gone up at a rate of 6% a year, compared with the economy’s 4.3%. 

And now with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, perhaps our next prime minster, taking the lead in extolling the virtues of creativity and culture, things can only get better, can’t they? 

Vade his speech at the CIF birthday party a couple of weeks ago where he vowed undying devotion to the arts, it’s not so much the light that George Osborne has seen as the glint of gold. He isn’t interested in the core mineral from which the treasure comes and which is being dumped on the scrap heap: arts education and training.

A closer look at the report shows that the elements of the creative industries that are making the moolah are films, rock music recordings, video games, crafts and publishing. The Creative Industries Federation’s John Kampfner warns that there were still areas of concern such as the marginalisation of creative subjects in schools and universities, but also that in music, performing and visual arts growth has actually slowed, thanks at least partly to subsidy cuts. 

This is where the arts that develop the creative industries are made. West End theatres, an ever growing earner of the tourist dollar for us, could not function without the subsidised sector, the regional theatres where our actors, directors, playwrights, technicians and designers get their formative training, and they are being cut by local authorities; our great exhibitions are made by curators that learn their skills in the provincial museums and galleries that are being closed as I write by, for instance, Lancashire County Council; and we're getting to D-Day for Cornelia Parker’s petition (signatures from 23,0009 individuals and 170 organisations, www.baccforthefuture.com) against the education department’s plans for the compulsory EBacc which, as she says, will have no place “for pupils to study art, dance, design, drama, music or other creative industry relevant subjects”.

So while with Mr Osborne we can enjoy counting the golden eggs piling up in the Treasury, the arts’ golden goose is still out in the farmyard being slowly strangled.

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